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Your Boss Is Your Customer


Your Boss Is Your Customer

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Andy Warren
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Your Boss Is Your Customer

Andy
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Jeff Moden
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Gosh, Andy. Although I appreciate where you're going in these articles, that's, what? 4 in a row about how to be a better employee? Let's hear about the other side. Let's hear about how to be a better manager and how to better manage expert staff and schedules. Let's hear about a manager that will wear the tin pants for his or her team and the rewards that will actually bring.

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Lynn Pettis
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I have to agree with Jeff. I feel like you are preaching to the choir here. Many of us know that our immediate supervisor and/or manager is actually one of our customers and that we need to keep him/her happy as well as all the other internal and external customers that we serve directly and indirectly.

I would also like to see from our side regarding management and what would make them better at their job in regards to us. As I see it, it really is a two way street.

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Sean Cowburn
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Viewing your boss as a customer is not a bad idea (in fact I quite like it), BUT

In my experience, customers tend to give more feedback than most of the bosses that I have had. Bosses are always quick to point out any shortfalls, but a simple thanks for a job well done is something very rare indeed.

Over the years, I think I have had more positive feedback from customers than my bosses (I am trying to avoid using the word "superior" :-) ). When I have had a chance, I have addressed the issue and the average reply is "Of course we're happy, if we weren't happy, you would hear about it" or roughly translated "no news is good news" (I just love that one).

So to be quite honest, I prefer dealing with real customers as opposed to the boss-variety and I do agree with Jeff an Lynn: managers should take a closer look at how they can be better at doing what they're supposed to be doing. Many of the shortfalls of the companies that I have worked at have been homegrown due to mismanagement and not due to lack of motivation of the actual workforce itself.

So to phrase it in a rather corny way: not only I should look at what I can do for my boss, my boss should also look at what he/she can do for me. That would be a very solid basis for good customer relations.

Just my five cents.
Thanks for writing the editorial though, it is always good to see things from other people's points of view.
Dizzy Desi
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Personally, I don't plan to pursue being management any time soon, but Andy's comments brought about another idea for me: WE are the management of the future - at least some of us will be. So for those of you who want to be in management, or think you may get thrown into it at some point, working toward being a better employee now will likely help you to be a better manager later as well.

And don't forget - even managers have higher management to report to - they are serving "customers" just as we are.

Have a great day, all! :-)
Bill Nicolich
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Andy: Great soft skill quick tip.

Since we're wandering into psych territory, I'll note that a person keeping expectations of other people vague and concealed confers a tactical advantage - hence why people do it - customers, bosses, spouses, parents, etc.

It creates a mine field, allowing the tactician the ability to create a wide perimeter of anxiety as people wonder what mine they might step on.

It confers the tactician the rationale to explode on a culprit after repeated offenses of an unknown expectation, conferring advantage and leverage in current and future negotiations.

There's power in being able to say to someone you are cooperating with - "you are not meeting my expectations."

There are also disadvantages - but people do it anyway because it's a pretty potent and successful zero-sum tactic.

I just think that since we're building soft skill awareness, we in the tech industry could also use tactical awareness - not so we use anti-social tactics, but that we become aware of their use on us and find pro-social counter-tactics that ultimately will advance cooperation.

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GSquared
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Keeping an honest boss happy is too easy to do to need explanation.

Keeping a dishonest boss happy is impossible so not worth worrying about.

So I don't really bother with attention on keeping a boss happy. I do my job, I maintain good interpersonal relations with everyone I can (I once had a co-worker I couldn't get along with, but only once), and boss happiness pretty much handles itself in that situation.

I think it comes under the heading of "don't sweat the petty stuff", honestly.

Learn how to get along with people (it's easy), and get your job done. And don't worry about it beyond that.

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Kenneth.Fisher
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Great tip. Personally I think you can go both ways with that. Not just think of your boss as customer, but as a manager (or in my case husband and father), what do I expect from my "customers". If I can give them a better list of what I expect, then hopefuly they can give me more of what I want.

Kenneth Fisher
I strive to live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without being questioned about its motives.
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David.Poole
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I'd turn this on its head. My customer is my boss. That attitude might upset a few line managers but it would help build bridges between IT departments and the other arms of the business.

As for what makes a better manager?

  • Give clear objectives that conform to the SMART paradigm
    Specific
    Measurable
    Achievable
    Realistic
    Time bound

  • If you say you are going to do something then do it albeit threat or promise

  • Remove obstacles to the SMART objectives

  • Remember to say "Thank you"

  • Acknowledge work well done especially that beyond the call of duty

  • Be very clear when something needs to be improved and how

  • Know when to butt in and when to butt out

  • In group situations keep the team focussed

  • Keep meetings to the minimum and identify the objective of the meeting, actions, responsibilities for those actions and time scales

  • Shield the team from external distractions

  • Escalate team concerns to the powers that be when necessary

  • Learn when to shut up....not when its your round in the pub

  • Make sure the interests of the team take precedence



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Mork
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"It confers the tactician the rationale to explode on a culprit after repeated offenses of an unknown expectation, conferring advantage and leverage in current and future negotiations."

What?? I hope you are being ironic. Communication is a continual cycle of correction of meaning by all parties in the process. The best way for this to occur is via experiential listening and the use of plain English both parties can understand.

In relation to above, I have no idea for sure what you are attempting to communicate, however I have several competing definitions of what I can only guess at. This lack of clarification IS what breeds anxiety and ultimately results in a lack of faith in the communication process. The process may be being used for something that is not in one of the parties best interests or to give the "win-win" situation.

… let it be said I believe you are acting in good faith though (although I have no proof)

:-)



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